In many cases, cleaning your home is pretty straightforward. That is, until you get to the basement. Usually, basement floors are concrete, so traditional approaches won’t always work. That’s especially true if you have soaked in oil or stains. That’s why knowing how to clean a basement concrete floor is essential.
When it comes to how to clean a basement concrete floor, there are several workable options. Ammonia and detergent, bleach, TSP, and certain commercial cleaners are solid choices. Additionally, using a power washer may do the trick, depending on the state of the floor.
However, those aren’t the only options available. If you’re trying to figure out how to clean a basement concrete floor, here’s what you need to know.
Contents (Jump to Topic)
- How to Clean Basement Concrete Floor
- 1. Ammonia and Detergent
- 2. Cleaning Solution
- 3. Bleach or Bleach Powder
- 4. Dry Cement
- 5. White Vinegar and Baking Soda
- 6. Trisodium Phosphate (TSP)
- 7. Pine-Sol
- 8. Muriatic Acid
- 9. Pressure Washer
- How to Clean Unsealed Concrete Floors
- How to Remove Efflorescence from Concrete
- Can You Mop a Cement Basement Floor?
- Best Cleaner for Concrete Floor in Basement
- How to Keep a Concrete Floor Clean Longer
- What is the Best Way to Clean Concrete Basement Floor?
How to Clean Basement Concrete Floor
There are several options when you need to clean a basement concrete floor that work incredibly well. However, no matter what approach you choose, they all start with the same first step: sweeping.
Sweeping up loose dirt and debris gives you the best starting point possible. Take the time to go over the entire floor, collecting up everything using a dustpan or shop vac before you move on to any other step.
Additionally, you may want to do a test spot of any cleaning solution you choose. Most won’t cause any harm, but if your concrete floor is stained a color or treated in any way, that could change the outcome. So, head to a discreet corner and do a test before you move on to the rest of your flooring.
Finally, make sure to don gloves, safety goggles, and clothes you don’t mind potentially ruining before you get started.
1. Ammonia and DetergentAmmonia and detergent is a great option, especially if you have stubborn grime or trouble with mold and mildew. It’s also pretty accessible, as most people can get their hands on dish soap and ammonia with ease.
1. Create the Solution
Add ¼ cup of ammonia and a tablespoon of bleach-free liquid dish soap to a gallon of warm water, mixing thoroughly.
2. Ventilate the Room
Ammonia is a harsh cleanser, so you need to ventilate the basement before you start cleaning. Open up doors and windows and use fans to increase airflow before you begin scrubbing.
3. Apply the Solution and Scrub
Take a rubber or nylon scrub brush and apply the ammonia solution. As you do, scrub the floor, giving special attention to any particularly dirty spots.
4. Rinse with Water
After scrubbing, use clean water and a mop to rinse the floor. Make sure to rinse the mop regularly, ensuring the excess ammonia is removed.
5. Let Floor Dry
Once the floor is rinsed, leave the room ventilated, and don’t walk on the floors until they dry.
2. Cleaning SolutionWhen you need a quick, simple option, going with a commercial cleaning solution can be a great choice. Just know that each one may work a little differently, so it’s best not to make assumptions about how to proceed.
1. Read the Instructions
If you prefer the simplicity of a commercial cleaning solution, your first step is to read the instruction. Each cleaner may work best if used in particular ways. Since that’s the case, you want to see what the manufacturer recommends before doing anything else.
2. Prepare the Solution
In some cases, commercial cleaning solutions should be diluted before use. If that applies to yours, grab a bucket and create the right ratio of cleaner to water based on the instructions.
3. Apply Solution and Scrub
Typically, the easiest way to use this option is to apply it with a sturdy nylon or rubber scrub brush. Let it sit for a moment if the instructions recommend that. Then, use the brush to scrub the floor, focusing a bit more attention on stains.
4. Rinse with Water
After you’re done scrubbing, you may need to rinse the floor using water and a mop. However, read the instructions to confirm if this is necessary, as many don’t require rinsing.
5. Let the Floor Dry
At this point, all you need to do is let the floor dry before walking on it. That way, you don’t drag dust or dirt onto your clean floor.
3. Bleach or Bleach Powder
If you’re dealing with grime, odors, mildew, and mold, bleacNo products found.h is often a go-to cleanser. It’s also suitable for concrete floors, as long as you use it properly.
1. Open Windows and Doors
If you’re working with bleach, ventilation is essential. Make sure you open windows and doors to allow for air floor. You can also bring a fan into the room to help direct the fresh air in the right direction.
2. Dilute the Bleach
Bleach isn’t something you should typically use straight. If you’re working with No products found., add ¾ cup to every gallon of warm water. For powdered bleach, ¼ or ½ cup will usually do the trick.
3. Apply Solution and Scrub
Once you have your bleach solution, apply it using a nylon or rubber brush. Let it sit for a minute or two, then scrub the area. If you’re dealing with a stubborn stain and have powdered bleach, you can sprinkle a little extra over the spot before scrubbing a bit more.
4. Let It Sit, Then Rinse
With bleach, you can typically let it sit for up to ten minutes. After that, get clean water and a mop and rinse the floor.
5. Let the Floor Dry
Before walking across the floor, let it dry completely. Additionally, leave the windows and doors open for ventilation until it’s thoroughly dry.
4. Dry CementIf you’re dealing with rust or a similar stubborn stain, dry cement is an effective option, particularly for unsealed concrete floors. It doesn’t involve any liquids, preventing issues that can occur when water or fluids soak into the concrete.
1. Sprinkle Dry Cement on the Stain
Begin by ensuring the floor is entirely dry. Then, sprinkle dry cement over the stain.
2. Scrub with a Stiff Bristle Brush
Once you apply the dry cement, you’ll want to scrub the spot with a stiff bristle brush. Use moderate pressure and a circular motion, starting in the center and going a bit past the edges of the stain as you work.
Just make sure you don’t use a metal brush, as metal slivers can end up stuck in the floor. Instead, go with an option like nylon.
3. Replenish Cement and Repeat
As you work, sprinkle more dry cement over the stain as needed. Continue scrubbing until the stain is gone.
Once you’re done scrubbing, use a broom to sweep up the excess dry cement.
5. White Vinegar and Baking Soda
Vinegar has amazing cleaning power, particularly when combined with baking soda. If you’re dealing with stained concrete, this approach is surprisingly effective, giving you a natural solution.
1. Make a Vinegar Mixture
Start by getting a clean, empty spray bottle. Then, fill it with water and white vinegar, making a 50/50 mixture.
2. Sprinkle Baking Soda on the Stain
Many people wonder, “Will baking soda damage concrete?” Fortunately, the answer is “no,” making it a viable option for cleaning basement floors.
Sprinkle baking soda on the stain and let it sit for five minutes. You can even give the floor a gentle scrub with just the baking soda. Just don’t apply too much pressure, as that can grind the baking soda into the floor.
3. Spritz the Baking Soda and Scrub
Once the baking soda has sat, spritz it with the vinegar solution. As it starts to fizzle, use a rubber or nylon scrub brush to scrub the stain. As the fizzing calms down, spritz again, repeating the spritz and scrub process until the bubbling stops.
4. Repeat as Needed
If the stain isn’t entirely gone, you can sprinkle on more baking soda and repeat step three. Continue doing so until you conquer the stain.
5. Rinse and Let Dry
After dealing with the stain, rinse the spot using clean water and a mop. Then, let the floor dry.
6. Trisodium Phosphate (TSP)TSP is a potent cleaner that is highly water-soluble and tough against dirt and grime buildup. However, it’s more hazardous than some alternatives, so you need to exercise caution if you go this route.
1. Read the InstructionsTSP is typically diluted before use. Additionally, it usually requires ample ventilation and potentially additional safety gear. As a commercial product, you’ll want to read the manufacturer’s directions to get the right ratio of TSP to water and ensure safe use.
2. Apply the Solution with a Scrub Brush
After making the mixture, apply the solution to the floor using a nylon or rubber scrub brush. Let it sit for a couple of minutes (or as long as the manufacturer recommends), and then start scrubbing.
3. Rinse with Water
Once you’ve finished scrubbing, you’ll need to rinse the floor. Use fresh water and a clean mop, ensuring to rinse the mop regularly along the way.
4. Let the Floor Dry
Now that you have a freshly rinsed floor, it’s time to let it dry. Make sure it’s thoroughly dry before walking on the flooring, decreasing your odds of tracked in dirt or dust sticking to it.
7. Pine-SolWhen it comes to a potent cleaner that’s widely available, Pine-Sol easily qualifies. However, many people don’t realize they can use it on concrete floors, causing them to miss out on this potential option.
1. Dilute the Pine-Sol
Take ¼ cup of your favorite Pine-Sol product. Then, add it to one gallon of warm water.
2. Apply the Solution and Scrub
Use a nylon or rubber brush to apply the solution. Then, scrub.
3. Tackle Stubborn Stains
If you have a particularly stubborn spot, undiluted Pine-Sol may tackle it. Pour about a teaspoon right on the stain and scrub until the stain is gone.
4. Rinse and Let Dry
After you’ve cleaned the floor, use clean water and a mop to rinse it. Then, let it dry before walking on it.
8. Muriatic AcidMuriatic acid is incredibly effective at stripping away dirt, grime, and more. Often, it’s the preferred choice before refinishing a concrete floor since it’s so powerful.
However, muriatic acid is caustic and capable of corroding a variety of materials. It’s also incredibly dangerous if it gets on you. As a result, this should be a last resort product.
1. Read the Warnings and Instructions
Before you do anything else, read the product warnings and manufacturer’s instructions. This isn’t a product you want to use incorrectly. Similarly, you don’t want to skip safety equipment. Make sure you know exactly how to use it safely. If you have doubt, go with another option.
2. Remove or Cover Items
As mentioned above, muriatic acid is caustic. It can damage a wide range of materials, so make sure all items in your basement are either removed or properly covered.
3. Ventilate the Room
Take a moment to open as many windows and doors as possible. You can also use fans. Just make sure they aren’t pointed at the floor, as that could cause unwanted splatter.
4. Prepare the Solution
Since this is a hazardous product, check the manufacturer’s directions to prepare the solution. Usually, you’ll use one-part muriatic acid to four-parts water, though some products may vary slightly from that formula.
5. Apply the Mixture and Scrub
Use a rubber brush or scrub broom to apply the solution, scrubbing as you do. Then, let it sit for up to ten minutes (or as outlined in the manufacturer’s directions).
6. Rinse, and Rinse Again
With muriatic acid, a single rinse isn’t enough. You’ll want to use fresh water and mop the floor not once but twice. If you still smell fumes in the air, rinse again until the scent is gone.
7. Let It Dry, and Discard Your Tools
After you’re done rinsing, let the floor dry completely before you walk on it. Additionally, rinse any scrub brushes, brooms, buckets, or other tools you used. Then, discard them once they’re dry.
9. Pressure WasherWith a pressure washer, you can clean up your basement floors without using any cleaners. However, it’s only ideal for certain basements.
1. Check Your Drains
Pressure washing a basement concrete floor is only a good idea if you have good drainage. Check the drains to make sure they’re clear and in a good position. Additionally, consider removing or covering items you don’t want to be sprayed with water.
2. Fill the Tank
Before you turn the pressure washer on, you’ll need to fill the tank. Follow the manufacturer’s directions to ensure you do it correctly.
3. Test the Pressure
Ideally, you want to use as little pressure as possible to clean your concrete floors. Start in a discreet location that has dirt, grime, or stains. Then, start with the lowest setting to see if it cleans the spot. If not, incrementally increase the pressure until you get the needed cleaning power.
4. Work from the Outside In
After getting the setting right, work from the edges of the room, moving slowly toward the center. That helps you steer the water toward the drain as you clean.
5. Remove Excess Water and Dry
Once you’re done cleaning, you’ll want to remove excess water. You can sweep it toward the drain using a push broom or suck it up with a wet-dry shop vac. After that, let the floor dry.
How to Clean Unsealed Concrete Floors
Generally speaking, you can use the same process to clean unsealed concrete floors as you do sealed ones. The only issue you want to consider is that sealed concrete floors have protection against water, while unsealed ones don’t.
As a result, you’ll want to avoid letting water or cleaning solutions sit on unsealed concrete floors. Often, that means working one section at a time and doing so relatively quickly. Additionally, when you rinse, you’ll want to mop up as much water as possible.
How to Remove Efflorescence from Concrete
Over time, a white powder called efflorescence can build up on concrete floors. It’s the result of water seeping through and then evaporating, leaving the surface stained with salts and other materials.
Fortunately, dealing with efflorescence is pretty straightforward. In many cases, you can simply loosen it up with a stiff nylon brush, allowing you to then sweep it away. If it’s particularly caked on, a scraper may be a better choice for loosening it up.
If that isn’t dealing with it well or you’re seeing staining, using a vinegar and water mixture is worth considering. Vinegar is acidic but also generally safe to use, allowing you to break down the stain with minimal risk. If you combine that with baking soda (using the process outlined in the cleaning section above), you also keep the overall pH balanced, all while getting some extra scrubbing power.
Muriatic acid can also remove efflorescence. However, it’s a caustic cleaner, so you’ll need to exercise caution if you go this route.
Otherwise, there are commercial efflorescence cleaners. For those, make sure to read the manufacturer’s directions regarding use, as well as any warnings. Often, these contain powerful acids, so you’ll want to proceed carefully.
Can You Mop a Cement Basement Floor?
Yes, you can mop a cement basement floor. In most cases, a simple water and mild dish soap mixture is an incredibly effective approach. It’ll break down grease and grime and is generally safe to use.
Just make sure that you don’t let large puddles of water sit on the floor, especially if it’s unsealed concrete. Usually, that’s pretty easy to do as long as you ring excess moisture out as you mop.
Best Cleaner for Concrete Floor in Basement
Zep Neutral pH Floor Cleaner ConcentrateIf you have sealed concrete floors, Zep Floor Cleaner Concentrate is an excellent option.
It won’t strip away any protective coatings but is still tough enough to remove stuck-on dirt and grime. Plus, it’s suitable for indoor use, and you can use this cleaner on other floor types, including marble and stone.
The concentrate also makes more than 100 gallons of floor cleaner, giving you a long-lasting supply. It’s easy to use and doesn’t leave a residue. Plus, rinsing isn’t required.
Oil Eater Cleaner DegreaserFor basement floors with tough oily or greasy stains, Oil Eater Cleaner Degreaser is a top-notch option. It’s water-based and biodegradable but also incredibly potent.
There’s also a dilution chart that helps you adjust the power based on how dirty your flooring is, ensuring you get results without going overboard.
This option is nonacidic and non-corrosive, so it’s safer than some alternatives. Plus, it’s USDA-approved for non-food surfaces, including concrete, tile, decking, and more. Just make sure you do a test spot first, just to be safe.
How to Keep a Concrete Floor Clean Longer
1. Regular Cleaning
As with all flooring, cleaning your basement concrete floor regularly is critical if you want to avoid stains or cleaning challenges. It allows you to remove dirt and grime before it builds up or sinks in, making the process simpler overall.
As mentioned above, sweeping is a necessary starting point. After that, consider mopping with a water and gentle dish soap mixture when you handle your other household cleaning.
2. Concrete Sealant
Concrete sealants help protect your basement floor against dirt, grime, and stains. It makes the surface of your floor less porous, leaving a buffer layer in place.
In many cases, sealing a basement floor is a multi-step process. First, you’ll need a clean slate to work with, which can mean using muriatic acid or a similar high-powered approach to remove any buildup and prep the surface. You’ll need to empty your basement, too, ensuring you can reach the entire floor.
Next, you’ll need to apply the concrete sealant in accordance with the manufacturer’s directions. Typically, it’s wise to start with a test spot. After that, you can apply it to a broader area if you’re happy with the result.
Finally, you’ll want to let the sealant cure before you bring anything back into the basement. How long that may take can vary. Some versions may only take a few hours. Others might require more than a full day.
3. Waterproof Stain
Like concrete sealant, waterproof concrete stains apply a protective layer to your basement floor. Additionally, they provide you with the ability to give your flooring a new, fresh look.
As with sealant, you’ll need to use essentially the same multi-step process. However, you want to read the manufacturer’s directions regarding preparation, application, and drying times, as the exact approach may vary between products.
What is the Best Way to Clean Concrete Basement Floor?
When it comes to how to clean a basement concrete floor, the best option depends on your situation. If you prefer natural options, vinegar and baking soda could be a solid choice. If you need to deal with rust, go with dry cement. For really tough stains, years of built-up grime, or preparing for refinishing, muriatic acid may be worth considering.
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